The goal of a program is to address a problem or need. In an evaluation plan, the written goal should state the problem the program addresses or describe the rationale for the program. The goal should also state the expected accomplishments of the program.

Think about these questions in relation to your program:

You might answer these questions like this:

Given the nature of their practice, surgeons should have particular expertise in conducting informed consent/shared decision making conversations with patients about complex procedures. Giving bad news and requesting permission for autopsy or organ donation are common and challenging experiences for surgeons.

At our institution, as in many others, there is little formal teaching and limited direct observation and feedback on these skills during the clerkship year. Students rarely have the opportunity to observe experienced faculty communicating with patients and families. Therefore instruction is needed to teach surgical clerks communication skills, incorporate experienced faculty role models, and emphasize the clinical relevance of communication to the practice of surgery.

You can then summarize the answer into a program goal.


Below is an example of a program goal. The first paragraph describes the problem; the last states the expected accomplishments of the program.

There are important communication skills for surgeons, linked to important patient outcomes, which are rarely formally addressed after the pre-clinical years of medical school.

Our goal is to implement a new communication skills curriculum during the third-year Surgery Clerkship to improve students’ overall communication competence.


In your Evaluation Plan tool enter your program goal in column 1.

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Evaluation Planning Tool: STEP 1